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GS Yuasa production boost marks centenary

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:00 -- Xuan Zhong
GS Yuasa production boost marks centenary

Japan-based lead-acid battery manufacturer GS Yuasa has told investors it is on track to expand production in at least three other countries as it marks 100 years of operations.

GS Yuasa said new production facilities will come on line in Turkey, China and India in 2018— and the group plans to make inroads into the lucrative electric vehicles (EV) battery market.

Osamu Murao (pictured), the company’s president, said “taking on the challenge of developing cutting-edge technologies” would mark the start of the group’s second centenary.

“Great expectations are directed from various directions at products that can be utilised in new energy fields, such as photovoltaic power and lithium-ion batteries, a new business for GS Yuasa,” Murao said.

Details of the plans were confirmed as the group updated investors on how it intends to build on its existing lead-acid and automotive batteries business to “become a driving force in the future”.

Operations at a new automotive battery factory under construction in Tianjin, China, are expected to start in the new year. The new facility, which will have an annual production capacity of up to 800 million units, is being built near the existing plant, which produces up to 400 million units each year.

In Turkey, another new production plant will come on line in 2018 taking annual production from around 400m units to up to 600m units.

In addition, GS Yuasa said a second motorcycle batteries production line being built at its plant in India would see annual production there double to up to 240m units.

On its EV battery aspirations, GS Yuasa said “inquiries are increasing from European automobile manufacturers for 12V lithium-ion batteries.

Meanwhile, the group is developing sulphur battery technology aimed at “at achieving batteries with an energy density three times that” of current lithium-ion batteries.

GS Yuasa was created in 2004 with the merger of the Japan Storage Battery Co., Ltd., formed in 1917 and the Yuasa Storage Battery Co., Ltd.,— which was established in 1918.

In 2015, the group acquired Panasonic’s lead-acid batteries business.

Today the group has 37 facilities in 17 countries— eight of which are in Asia. Consolidated net sales for the fiscal year ended March 2017 amounted to more than JPY359 billion ($3.1bn) with an operating income of JPY23bn.